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Bolt Prospect of the Week: March 24, 2014

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for March 24, 2014 is … Andrey Vasilevskiy, G, Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL – Russia).

If playoff experience is instrumental in a prospect’s development, Andrey Vasilevskiy is being subject to a symphony.

Ufa’s teenage goaltender has been in net for all of the club’s playoff games so far, including a pressure-packed Game 7 against Novgorod last Tuesday. Down 2-0 in the series, he turned in a triple-overtime gem in Game 3, and allowed just two goals in each of Games 4 and 5 before a Game 6 loss.

His team was outplayed in Game 7, being outshot 35-21, but Vasilevskiy turned aside all but one shot en route to a 2-1 win. Ufa had a 2-0 lead in the game and survived with Vasilevskiy under siege in the third period.

Smith Excited About Fresh Start with Syracuse


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Dalton Smith doesn’t pull any punches as to what’s expected.

In limited minutes over his first five games with the Syracuse Crunch, the 6-2, 218-pound power forward has a goal and a fighting major, but while Smith has shown he can chip in on the scoresheet, he’s not focused on point production.

“I’m an energy guy, someone who’s going to stick up for his teammates," the 21-year-old said. "If we need a boost, hopefully I can make a play, whether it’s a big hit or a fight. Getting points is a bonus. They don’t expect me to put up big numbers. Just the way I play around the net, sometimes I get some lucky rebounds.”

BP Mailbag: 3-19-14

The BP Mailbag is back with more questions from Lightning Nation...

@RcaAmarante:
How good can Adam Wilcox be? He doesn't get talked about much but his numbers are amazing. @BoltProspects #BPMailbag

University of Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox (23-4-6, 1.91 GAA, .934 sv%, 3 SO) was just named the Big 10 Conference Player of the Year and remains a candidate for the Hobey Baker as the NCAA’s top player and the Mike Richter award as top goaltender. He was a sixth round pick of the Lightning in 2011.

Wilcox has good size, great athleticism, and a superb mental approach to the game. His poise and focus are among his biggest strengths. How good can he be? Goaltenders are the hardest to judge – just look at the number of failed top picks and successful late picks. However, Wilcox appears to have the mental and physical attributes to make it to the NHL and be a solid player.

He’ll be a junior next year at Minnesota if he stays in school, and speculation is he will stay in school as both Syracuse goalie spots appear to be taken by Andrey Vasilevskiy and Kristers Gudlevskis, respectively. While there is an opening at Goaltender No. 5, I don’t know that Wilcox would leave his throne in the Gophers net for the ECHL. My guess is he comes out after his junior year and takes one of the Syracuse spots. Then it’s at least two years before he’s flirting with NHL time. It’s a long process, but he has the ability to be a solid NHL net minder.

Bolt Prospect of the Week: March 17, 2014

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for March 17, 2014 is … Jonathan Drouin, C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL – Canada).

He did it again.

Jonathan Drouin had a six-point game a week ago, earning him our Bolt Prospect of the Week. We jokingly said it was because the previous week’s winner, Matt Peca, had a six-point game and Drouin had never hit six points in a regular season game.

Not only did Drouin do it again, but he topped it.

In the final regular season game of his junior career, Drouin had seven points on Saturday vs Cape Breton – the same team he scored six against a week earlier. With 13 points in his last two games against the Screaming Eagles, Drouin is probably banned from visiting Sydney, Nova Scotia, for life.

Gourde Finds Home in Lightning Organization


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Yanni Gourde took the ice Tuesday as determined as ever.

The 5-9 left-winger signed a new deal -- an American Hockey League contract with the Syracuse Crunch for the rest of this season and a two-way deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning over the next two years -- last weekend. But Gourde, who spent time with three teams over the past two years, isn’t completely satisfied with his new found stability.

"It's awesome to feel that type of security right now," Gourde said. "But hockey is day-by-day. Every practice is important, and every time I step on the ice I need to improve myself to get better."

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